Thursday, December 5
“He has sent me to proclaim freedom…recovery…release…favor.”
Lk 4:18-19 NIV
The Barriers Are in Your Mind
Jesus said that He came to bring freedom to those held captive by destructive habits, to give sight to those who are spiritually blind, to lift up those who’ve been put down, and to announce that the time of God’s favor toward us has come. If you look closely at ancient maritime maps you will see places which are marked with pictures of dragons. Sailors who explored the world wouldn’t go there. Were the dragons real? No, but they were real in the minds of the sailors.
Picture a barracuda in a big tank at SeaWorld in Florida. A glass barrier divides one half of the tank from the other. Each time the barracuda tries to swim from one end of the tank to the other, he bumps into it. And here’s an interesting thing—even when the barrier’s taken away, the barracuda still won’t swim beyond that point. Why? Because the barrier is in his mind! Satan will place barriers in your mind and say you can’t go beyond a certain point in life; you can’t dream beyond it, or reach beyond it. Don’t believe him! Jesus said Satan is a liar and the father of lies. But a lie is as effective as the truth if you believe it and act on it. With God there are no limits, just unlimited power. The Bible is filled with stories of little people, limited people, lackluster people, and, in some cases, low-life people who penetrated the barriers beyond which they thought they couldn’t go, and God used them to do amazing things. And He can do that for you too.
Friday, December 6
“What must I do to be saved?”
Ac 16:30 NIV
After her first flight, someone asked an elderly lady what she thought of being on a plane. She said, “It was okay, but I never did put my whole weight on it.” And we do the same when we refuse to place our trust on the finished work of Christ. Most major religions answer the question, “What must I do to be saved?” by handing you a book of rules you must keep to get to heaven. A lot of us try, and give up in discouragement. Instead of leading you away from God’s grace, Satan tries to make you earn it. When asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul didn’t say, “Work harder, pray longer, give more, and be more moral.” No, he said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (v. 31 NIV). Believing is the root of the tree we call salvation; behaving is the fruit that grows on it. We don’t do good works to be saved—our good works are just an expression of love and gratitude to the One who already saved us. The Bible says, “We should be holy and without blame” (Eph 1:4 NKJV). Without blame? That’s an impossible standard! The only way that will happen is if God takes the righteousness of Christ and credits it to our account. And He does! “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Co 5:21 NIV). The moment you place your trust in Christ, God sees you as “righteous,” and on that basis He accepts you 24/7. Aren’t you glad?